How to start feeding baby solids

Feeding your baby solids for the first time can be challenging, but there are several simple steps you can follow to help with the feeding process.

Step-by-step process

Set the scene

Choose a time when you and your baby are relaxed and happy. Around lunchtime or early afternoon are good times.

Start with milk

Give them a breast or formula feed before solids, until your baby is 8–9 months old. This milk is still the most important part of their diet, so you want to make sure they get plenty.

After 8 or 9 months, you can give them solids before milk.

Keep your baby safe

Sit your baby in a highchair or on your lap. Stay with your baby while they’re eating, so you can help them if they choke.

Avoid small hard foods because your baby could choke on them.

Offer first tastes

At first, offer 1–2 teaspoons of smooth, runny, slightly warm solids, once a day. Let your baby taste the food and suck it off the spoon. Your baby will get better at taking food off the spoon during the first week of feeding.

Give your baby time

Eating solids is complicated and baby may spit out their first solid foods as they learn to get the food to the back of their mouth to swallow it.

If your baby continues to spit out a food, wait for a few days and offer the food again or try another food.

Gradually offer new foods

To help your baby get used to a variety of tastes, gradually offer different foods. Even if a food tastes bland to you, it won’t taste bland to your baby.

Let your baby develop their own tastes

Babies like some tastes more than others. If your baby refuses a food, mix a little of the refused food with a food they like. Gradually increase the amount of the refused food until your baby gets used to the taste.

If your baby continues refusing, take a break and try it again in a week or two. It may take up to 10 times before they develop a taste for it.

Let your baby make a mess

Your baby will have a great time handling their own food as they get bigger, and will learn how things work.

Mealtimes can get messy.  Babies often enjoy dropping food over the side of the highchair and watching it fall. Put some newspaper or plastic under their highchair to contain the mess.

How much and how often

Your baby will let you know how much food they need. Start with one food at a time, and add a new food every 2–4 days.

  • Start with 1–2 teaspoons once a day, and slowly build up to to ¼ of a cup.

  • Slowly increase the amount of solid food, following your baby’s appetite.

  • Once your baby is taking 2 tablespoons to ½ a cup per feed, increase the number of meals a day.

  • Some babies are ready for 2 meals a day the second week after starting solid foods, and then 3 meals by the third week.

Each baby is different, and some eat more than others.

How to tell when your baby has had enough

When your baby wants to stop eating, they’ll turn their head away, push the food or your hand away, close their mouth or start crying.

Let your baby’s appetite guide how much they eat. Don’t force them to eat all the food on their plate.

Important information

Before introducing solids to your baby’s diet, there are several important things you should know.

Find out more about when your baby might be ready for solids and how often your baby should be eating solids.

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